At night, by marriage:

Here is how I control my heart: I string each thought one behind the next, like beads.

I wear the answers I am waiting to give. The jewelry becomes heavy as soil.

My long blink is a scream & a yes. There are things I have to say, but they do not yet know the questions they must ask. & a blink is no word; if they misunderstand—

A heart is just soil. Ask anyone. A heartbeat is a blink. A long blink is a scream. A longer blink is sleep. All night I am screaming.


Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Ciccarello. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“This poem was inspired by a folk tale, the specifics of which I’ve long since forgotten, which included a woman paralyzed by magic. I love the brief and strangely dispassionate nature of folk tales for providing a space in which to project imagined experiences, as here, where I approach the claustrophobic and harrowing feeling of being trapped within one’s own body.”
Lisa Ciccarello